JavaScript Rendering Secrets to Enhance Google-bot Indexing & Improve Performance

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, developers across the world are striving to use innovative technologies to develop more compelling and interactive websites. Future websites are going to be too different from the ones that you see today, and we have already started seeing a trend in that direction with more and more developers embracing JavaScript Frameworks for developing groundbreaking websites and web applications.

JavaScript websites are way too distinct from traditional HTML websites in several ways, but we won't discuss all of them in this post. Our focus will be extensively on how the new JavaScript Frameworks and libraries such as React.js, Angular.js 2, Vue.js, Meteor.js, Ember.js, Backbone.js, and Aurelia.js, etc., that developers are using to build advanced websites can have an impact on SEO.

Earlier when Google was using Chrome 41 for rendering JavaScript websites, SEO practitioners were finding it difficult to improve the online presence of their sites, which was affecting their ranking. However, things have changed a lot now. And the best part is that in Google I/O 2019, Google has rolled out the new GoogleBot called Chrome 74, which is expected to change the whole scenario.

Before we get into the technicalities or substantive aspects of how JavaScript websites can affect SEO, let's shed some light on some of the most substantial JavaScript Frameworks that are becoming extremely popular among developers nowadays.

Popular JavaScript Frameworks

React.js

React.js is, without a doubt, one of the most popular JavaScript Frameworks that makes it extremely easy for developers to build interactive UIs. Created by Facebook, and maintained by it along with a community of developers, React is an utterly flexible JavaScript library that allows you to interface with other libraries too when it comes to building more intricate UIs.

Considering that it's highly developer friendly, it's an ideal option for any large project.

Angular.js 2

An opensource web application framework, "Angular.js 2" is an extremely advanced tool for building innovative web apps. A TypeScript-based JavaScript Framework, "Angular.js 2" is embraced by a wide range of developers due to the kinds of benefits and flexibility it offers.

Packed with unique features like templates, forms, and dependency injection, etc., "Angular.js 2" is maintained by tech giant Google. And because Google manages this tool, developers world over feel secure about using it.

Vue.js

Simple to use JavaScript framework, “Vue.js” helps in building UIs and single page applications. Having an utterly small file size, developers can incorporate it into their projects without any obstacle. What sets it apart from the rest of the JavaScript frameworks is it has an uncomplicated learning curve.

Apart from that, it also has spectacular documentation that is beneficial for both novices and experienced JavaScript developers. And the best part is that you can quickly integrate it with other languages and applications.

It employs an HTML-based templating syntax, which makes it easier for users to write components.

Meteor.js

An isomorphic JavaScript framework, Meteor.js is again a free tool for building effective web-apps. You can learn it fast, so it's highly useful for those who are new to JavaScript.

Reasons JavaScript Websites Are Failing to Provide Reliable SEO Results

Problem in Rendering

Although Google claims that they can effectively render JavaScript Websites, the reality is somewhat different. As an SEO practitioner, you must understand the difference between client-side rendering and server-side rendering.

If Google fails to render your website effectively, it can affect its search results, which can have a detrimental impact on your SEO strategy. The problem generally occurs when Google either finds the JavaScript too puzzling or complex.

Error handling is too complicated in JavaScript, even a single error in your code can create problem in rendering. And due to rendering issues, Google also finds it difficult to index the content.

Server-Side Rendering

In Server-side rendering, which is a traditional approach, a Googlebot finds it simpler to crawl and index your site.

Here Is How It Works

Googlebot receives an HTML file and downloads it. After that, it manages to extract the links from the source code and then explores them side by side. It becomes manageable because the server houses your resources. Googlebot downloads both JavaScript and CSS files; and then sends them to the indexer ( known as Caffeine), which eventually indexes your pages.

Client Side Rendering

It is the area where the problem begins. It's a method, which is too time-consuming.

Here Is How It Works

The Googlebot first downloads an HTML file, after that, it downloads the CSS and JavaScript files, and afterward, it uses the Google Web Rendering Service (WRS) to parse, compile, and execute a JavaScript Code.

WRS has to collect the data from external APIs, and eventually, the indexer indexes the content. After that, Google has to figure out new links and then puts them into the crawling queue.

The entire process is too inefficient and complicated, and on top of that, if you end up making an error while coding, the whole scenario will become even more complicated.

According to an online book called "Robust JavaScript" by Mathias Schäfer, "The JavaScript parser is not that polite. It has a draconian, unforgiving error handling." The book further says that, if it discovers an unknown character, it quickly stops parsing the existing script.

Problems That You Face With JavaScript Websites in a Nutshell

  • It takes a lot of time to parse, compile, and run JavaScript files
  • Google has to wait a lot for indexing the content because a lengthy process occurs before it
  • The rendering process is too slow
  • Identifying new links is also time-consuming
  • Google has to wait for the page to render fully to find new URLs

Why Google Used to Struggle With JavaScript Websites

Earlier, Google employed Chrome 41 for rendering websites, which is approximately 3-years old browser, and it doesn't use to support ES6 JavaScript syntax fully. It only supports it partially. If you compare it with Chrome 74, you will be able to figure out the difference. And if you talk about interfaces like WebSQL and IndexedDB, they were also disabled.

Here is How You Can Optimize JavaScript Websites for SEO

  • Use an open source software called "Prerender.io," it works well with crawlers and helps in rendering the page quickly
  • Use Angular JS to prerender the HTML snapshots; it avoids the need for making any changes to your code
  • Use BromBone to download your web pages; it will eventually speed up the rendering process
  • Use Backbone js SEO to make it easier for Google to access your content

Apart from that, make sure that you do not make any mistakes while writing the code.